2018 Silver Medal Readers' Favorite Children's Social Issues
Mom's Choice Award
Lily and Niko Rabbit’s childcare class is at the elementary school science fair when a tornado warning happens. They learn how a tornado looks like an elephant trunk and sounds like a train. They also learn where they can go to be safe. When they find out the tornado damaged a neighbor’s house, they come together to help in their own charming way.
Prepare to be blown away by Elephant Wind. This heartwarming book is full of delightful illustrations and important messages. Author Heather Beal shows adults how they can educate young children about hazards in an entertaining and non-frightening way. She also shines a bright light on the often overlooked capacity of children to learn and to contribute to their own recovery and to the broader community.
"Elephant Wind" is a creatively illustrated juvenile story that is designed to teach children (ages three to eight) what to do if a tornado happens. One important aspect of "Elephant Wind" is that it presents the information in a cheery, colorful, nonthreatening format which is appealing and engaging to children. A childcare class of child-animals, including Lily and Niko Rabbit, arrives with their owl teacher, Ms. Mandy on a bus to attend a science fair. A warning siren sounds and the children are asked to follow Ms. Mandy to a tornado shelter. Calmly on their way to the tornado shelter, Ms. Mandy explains what a tornado looks like: a strong, twisty, funnel-shaped cloud. When the young animals do not understand, she explains the tornado shape is like an elephant trunk reaching from the sky to the ground. Further explanations and descriptions of tornado sounds follow, and Ms. Mandy explains the importance of immediately going somewhere safe, like a basement, when they hear a tornado warning. To help the children remember their safety tornado instructions, Ms. Mandy sings a song to them: "Elephant wind coming round, Get to the basement or below ground. Cover your head and before you know, It will blow over and you can go." Soon the school principal ( a wolf) appeared to tell the children the tornado was gone. Although no one was hurt, a neighbor's house was damaged. The animal children began to think of ways they could help the neighbors whose house was damaged to feel better, making treats, and cards, and telling them that they cared. "Elephant Wind" ends with tornado-related questions and activities from Lily and Niko Rabbit. "Elephant Wind" is a fine instruction manual for young children on proper tornado safety procedures, taught in a clear and nonthreatening way.